No firearms training facility and shooting range in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain

The tranquility of Sugarloaf Mountain may soon be only a memory for those who live in the area and all the visitors who come to enjoy hiking, biking, riding horses and other activities in the area.

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An application has been made to the Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals seeking approval of a firearms training center and shooting range on a property abutting Sugarloaf, on land zoned Resource Conservation. The sound of constant gun fire from the two outdoor fire ranges and the three-story shooting tower would be heard from up to five miles away. (They have re-labeled the tower as a “repelling tower” for the present, we understand, but it was initially identified as shooting tower in their application.)

Their application states “… establishment of a training facility for the use of law enforcement and military personnel …” This is designed to be far more than your neighborhood shooting range!

map300wLike our fellow neighbors, and people in rural communities everywhere, we want to be able to sit outside our house, or take a walk in the woods, or the birds singing, without the constant sound of gunfire. Does it make sense, and is it right to destroy this for so many residents and business and visitors when the applicant could establish the same facility in a more suitable location?

The repetitive gunfire will cause people who board horses at the many equestrian farms to move their horses elsewhere. These property owners depend on the income generated to pay their bills. Local riding clubs, golf courses, and event venues will be adversely affected; particularly Sugarloaf Mountain, whose trails would be far less inviting and weddings cannot be scheduled when the shooting range is open.

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We are gun owners. We are not opposed to shooting ranges. We are Republicans, and we believe in property rights, but within the framework of what is reasonable and appropriate in the area. We believe in supporting business creation, but not at the expense of existing businesses.

nofiringrangecrop300wThis facility would be suitable in some areas, but not in the middle of residential homes, horse farms, businesses catering to weddings and a natural preserve that attracts people to its quiet wooded trails, bubbling brooks and scenic vistas.

We believe that if it is approved, this facility will have a significant negative affect on the existing businesses in the area, and may cause some to close down.

• Will people boarding their horses or coming for riding lessons continue to patronize the many farms in this area? Where will these farms find the income to pay their bills?

• What about the noise affecting the Veterinary Clinic and Dog Resort? The Kennels in the area?

• Will anyone hit a ball at a local golf courses knowing in the middle of their swing they will be distracted by a barrage of gun fire?

• Who will want to have their wedding on Sugarloaf Mountain knowing their vows will be muffled by the noise from a shooting range? (Sugarloaf currently advertises that is it the “perfect setting for wedding, banquets and any special occasion.”)

• What will happen to this historic site without the income from these events?

• How about the winery and Comus Inn?

For those who have ever enjoyed Sugarloaf Mountain or the surrounding area, please support us by attending the hearing at Winchester Hall this Thursday at 7:00 pm.

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Here is the text on the new home page of the Sugarloaf Alliance

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The serenity of Sugarloaf Mountain and the surrounding area is threatened by a proposed firearms training facility and range. The proposed site is a tranquil farm on Thurston Road in Frederick County Maryland which abuts land with Sugarloaf Mountain hiking trails, as well as several equestrian businesses. The land for the proposed site is located in the Resource Conservation Zone, adjacent to Agricultural and Residential zoned properties.

The proposed facility’s application describes a very large and busy private commercial training facility with several enclosed and outdoor shooting ranges for the use of law enforcement, military personnel and others traveling from outside the area. The size of buildings and parking lots shown on the site plan plot an 80ft x 250ft building with classrooms on the 1st and 2nd floors and an indoor range in the basement, a large 144 car parking lot, as well as parking at shooting range buildings for more than 40 additional vehicles.

The proposal also describes peak capacity of up to 99 persons from 9am to 5pm daily, and likely as late as 10pm as allowed by county code.

The loud noise from this large, commercial facility will disturb the peaceful enjoyment of homes, farms and historic Sugarloaf Mountain, as well as threaten local businesses like Sugarloaf Stronghold, Sugarloaf Mountain Winery, Comus Inn and farms with horse riding, training and boarding. There are unknown environmental issues from having a firearms range run through flood plains and Little Bennett Creek, a waterway that feeds the Monocacy River and ultimately the Potomac River.

This proposed facility will cause greater harm in this location than it would in other locations.

You can review copies of the application and other documents by following this link – Special Exception Application and other documents. Time is of the essence as the hearing for this Special Exception before the Board of Zoning Appeals begins on July 24, 2014 at 7pm at Winchester Hall in Frederick, MD.

For more information Email us, visit our downloads page and visit our Facebook page – Sugarloaf Alliance.


Sugarloaf Alliance on the web

Sugarloaf Alliance on Facebook

Frederick County government Staff Report (barely three pages)

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